Monday, May 26, 2014

PIVOTAL Open Question

     "If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties,
      what good is our spiritual practice?"                          Maha Ghosananda 



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Maturing Emotionally, Spiritually

     “Quarrels would not last long if the fault were only on one side.”       Francois de La Rochefoucauld

     “If only it were all so simple, if only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being, and who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”              Alexander Solzhenitsyen


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Keeping Doors Open, without Serving Tea, to Energies Passing Through

     “Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.”                   Mark Twain

     Can searing fear & terror be welcomed, & allowed to pass through, an open heart? Can I become that seamlessly porous? Can I surf the funky waves of dukkha itself? Yes, yes, yes!!



Friday, May 23, 2014

Growing Up is Embarrassing!

     "Growing humility" is a serious understatement! Long-term meditation practice is best described in the words of Shunryu Suzuki Sensei: "one embarrassment after another!"
     As our protective defenses, pretenses & avoidances are lowered & shed, we perceive ourselves with increasing clarity - WOW, what a SURPRISE! We're ORDINARY MORTAL SLOBS! No wonder a lot of us refuse to grow up!!!!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Life as a Lie Detector

     In movies we've seen lie-detector tests, where a person is asked a series of questions, from name & address (to establish a baseline), to potentially intimidating ones eg possible criminal activity. A polygraph records the respondent's physiological reactions which estimate the truth or falsehood of the answers.
     Isn't life in many ways one continuous lie-detector test? From moment-to-moment, how true are we to ourselves? As we stumble along, & keep "getting it wrong", it slowly dawns on us that we're not at all who or what we thought we were. So who are we? What exactly is this?



Saturday, May 17, 2014

When we Fail to Accept Afflictive Emotions

     "We numb (our) vulnerability. We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted & medicated adult cohort in US history. The problem is - and I learned it from my research - is that you cannot selectively numb emotion.
     You can't say "Here's the bad stuff. Here's vulnerability, here's grief, here's shame, here's fear, here's disappointment - I don't want to feel these. I'm going to have a couple of beers & a banana-nut muffin. I don't want to feel these." You can't numb those hard feelings without (simultaneously) numbing the other affects or emotions - you cannot selectively numb. 
     So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness, and then we are miserable, and we're looking for purpose & meaning. And then we feel vulnerable, and then we have a couple of beers & a banana-nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle. 
     One of the things we have to think about is why & how we numb."
       Brene Brown PhD, from her (20min) TEDtalk below

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Rigidity towards Wisdom

"For the good man to realize that it is better to be whole than to be good
is to enter on a straight and narrow path
compared to which his previous rectitude was flowery license."

                                                        John Middleton Murry

 Fulghum R. Words I wish I wrote. A collection of writing that inspired my ideas. HarperCollins, NY, 1997.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Establishing a New Way of Being

     "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

     Many of us, even if we like & admire this quote, basically don't trust or believe in its value - "it's not practical!" We're not motivated to put it into practice. We assume that looking at "bad" situations "from a different perspective" is a useless game of pretending - that it doesn't actually change anything, we'd be simply fooling ourselves to try to feel a bit better.
     That certain practices fundamentally change who we are & our relationship to life is a foreign concept to most of us. 
     But the real problem is that our automatic default response to any adversity - & many arise daily - is adversarial - "me, myself & I" against the hostile world. This IS "natural" & appropriate for animals & cave-dwellers - BUT NOT for civilized humans today!
     Now we must PRACTICE to establish a new default way of being: open-hearted, nurturing presence. This is critically practical - because our old default reptilian ways are literally killing everything.

     "Practice refers to the discipline of cultivating a crucial capacity of mind, such as wisdom or concentration. Practices are rehearsals of desired qualities, which eventually become spontaneous, natural ways of being."
       Walsh R. “Essential spirituality. The 7 central practices to awaken heart and mind.” John Wiley & Sons Inc, NY, 1999.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, May 4, 2014
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Meaningful Life

"I shall see to it, if I can,
that my death makes no statement
that my life has not made already."                           Montaigne, Essays


Friday, May 2, 2014

In the Shimmering Complexity of this Timeless Moment

     This very timeless moment shimmers, quivers, with complex energy-form. Everything seems already right here & now, though we're usually caught in the illusion of getting somewhere else - in the momentum of our lives - bypassing the myriad details of reality that question & contradict our dream.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How We Experience Complexity

     "ideas that are complex metaphors to the erudite, are literal for the laity."

        Jay L. Garfield PhD, Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities, Yale-NUS College, Singapore - from the New York Times interview by Gary Gutting "What Does Buddhism Require?"

     “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”      Anais Nin

       “The poet and painter William Blake said, ‘As a man is, so he sees.’ He meant that the way a person sees or understands him or herself deeply conditions the ways he or she sees and understands objects, others and the world.”

       Rupert Spira. “Presence, Volume I: The Art of Peace and Happiness.” Non-duality Press, Salisbury, UK, 2011.